February 2016

poem29 Feb 2016 08:00 am
By Bill Bertram - Bill Bertram, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=565917

Photo by Bill Bertram – Bill Bertram, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=565917

i hope someday
they develop
because then we
can act like HIM

plug ourselves in
to design a
new world of peace
by piece construct
first the beasts of
land and monsters
of the sea pests
will come next and
birds of the sky

flesh will be hard-
est to produce
and fingernails
and hair patterns
and different
noses because
they would need to
change for growth to

square sonar waves
parades started

l33t 5p34king lives
trading market

worship the chip
the motherboard
and connect to
everything with
one single wire

poem22 Feb 2016 08:00 am



O Cormorant Queen,
long-necked Lady of black plumage,
can you hear me,
so far from the isle of river reeds
and cormorant-crowded estuaries?

Can prayer ascend without voice,
rhythm shriven of melody,
on heartbeat’s punctuation?

Cobalt-glass lamps swing their twilight
beneath silk-tented ceilings,
transforming the tenants of the room
into dreams.
They are shadows, only shadows.
I shift upon my satin couch,
peering at them with a hawk’s regard.

Those puny pink- or brown-skinned men
who visit seeking ecstasy,
quake at my height,
deem the blues of my flesh
—like spillage of tattoos’ ink
without the blanched page underneath—
unholy, alien, animal.

Some worship me
in the way of precious things.
These deposit sapphires at my feet,
carved beads of lapis lazuli,
as if to say without the aid of speech
(believing I can’t comprehend)
we, we are unlike the rest,
we know your worth,
would chart the rivers, gulfs, the seas
of your amazing skin.

Indigo Mystery,
they call me,
the Blue Odalisque.

Seven years ago I washed ashore
with all the other jetsam,
wreck’s relic wreathed in wrack
and my dead captain’s arms.

Loss still tendrils me,
tender as a lover.
When you give yourself to a man
for the spice of his lips,
for wave-green eyes, sand-gold hair,
heaven-blue arms,
you get what you deserve.

I lie.
It was not just for this that I followed him.
He seduced me with his ship,
blue maiden at the prow,
red sails, strong timbers
that creaked with the jolt of the sea
like a bed of pleasures.

Sister of Sorrows,
Daughter of Thorns,
some have called me in their tongues,
believing I still mourn a lover
drowned now seven years.

It’s not his loss that brims my eyes,
leaves me shuddering,

Nor is it merely homeland I pine for,
who traversed mountains just to heed
their winds’ secret dialects.

Not even freedom’s loss
drags my lips into their purple frown,
no matter how I long to trade
the stale stench of gardenias for
shores’ brine or hay-sweet meadowlands.

No, it is language I mourn.

Not inarticulate,
merely untranslatable, I—

I could sing the song of the smoke,
recite the epics of the moths of the moon,
chant the ballad of the wine
till my listeners sweated from the sun
that once fell on the vine.

How can I tell my tales?
How can I let my heart be known?
These foreigners lack the grace to make
the subtle shifts of note and vowel,
gesture’s aid to naked speech,
that give Jenaharese its eloquence.

How many secret mornings have I
grunted and stuttered
in a hundred un-blue tongues,
finding their words veinless,
old parchment rubbed dry and torn,
maps on which the lines of
rivers, roads, have vanished.

So I recline,
cloaked in kingfisher feathers
and mute misery.

O Cormorant Queen,
hear these prayers that flutter
to you on frayed wings.
Let my voice dive deep
into my listeners’ hearts.
See me home.

Meanwhile, the waters of Jenahar
still flow in me,
blood’s blue currents
sing the ancient tales for me alone.
I sway, listening inwards.

Understanding dawns in the eyes
of the little sister at the lute.
Her sure, swift fingers
echo the unsung songs
that rise from the prison
of my dusty throat,
from my damp blue body which,
clasped daily by a multitude of foreign arms,
also gives itself to no one.

poem15 Feb 2016 08:29 am


These letters wait for your return.
I write them when I should be sleeping.
The babies wait for your return.
These letters wait their chance to burn.
The days are full of burping, feeding.
I still have energy to yearn.
These letters wait for your return.
I write them when I should be sleeping.

Sevilla’s eyes all watch the wharves.
Your voyage is this eight-days’ wonder.
Unless it’s New World, it’s ignored.
Sevilla’s gossip floods the wharves:
your name, the risk, what you might plunder.
I hold my breath; you’re sailing foreign shores.
Sevilla’s eyes all watch the wharves.
Eight days.  Eighty.  Now just I wonder.

You’re not the only one with dreams.
Wealth, yes, but most:  stability
and nights of drip-less, arid dreams.
You’re not the only one who dreams:
I want a husband and a family,
a home in Portugal with no view of the sea.
You’re not the only one with dreams
but mine lack waves, crave rock stability.

The streets are flush with orange scent,
evening guitars, lovers out walking.
A young don holds his elbow bent.
The streets are flush with orange scent,
my heart beats faster just from walking.
He talks of gold, and you, and I stop, gawking.
The streets are flush with orange scent,
evening guitars, his footsteps walking.

I’ll find you in the underworld.
I predecease you—and you don’t return.
You nearly circumnavigate the world
but all the roads in hell are curved.
These letters wait for your return.
Was it new?  Or just more same-old world?
Better than my body’s world?
The babies wait for your return.

poem08 Feb 2016 09:08 am
My fingertips danced alongside the bass,
thudd, thudd, thudding through the speakers.
The bodies gyrated in flash frame,
like an old, wrinkled movie.
“You having fun?” she asked me,
flame red bangs tickling my nose,
blood red nails clutching my arm,
ruby red lips caressing my ear.
I shrugged, and allowed my fingertips
to dance their way up her arm.
She smiled at their performance,
applauding with slate grey eyes.
Her fingers joined mine, twisting
and turning in a couple’s’ duet.
They intertwined in finale and
she pulled me away from the crowd.
“This will be better,” she whispered,
pulling me down hallways and stairs
to a room in the back of the club,
with no music for my fingers to dance.
She pushed me down on a couch,
splotched and stained with secret affairs;
flame red nails clutching my face,
followed by blood red lips.
My fingers resumed their dancing,
up her thighs to the clasp of her dress,
but their performance became frantic
with the pain of her kiss.
Her ruby red hair trapped me
between burning tendrils of steel.
Her bloodied nails tearing rivets
in the soft flesh of my cheeks.
Those succulent lips glued to mine,
sucking out everything inside.
She released me, storm grey eyes smiling,
as my fingers did one final twirl, then laid still.
poem01 Feb 2016 07:59 am
He sits in limbo
        waiting for the next summoning
licking at the scars of being
                forever left behind,
        clawing at the hate
                of his intangible
                but ever hungering form.
in a flash
he is called.
As lightning he appears above
to race down through the beings below.
By twos and threes he consumes them
        by his merest touch
        by his slightest breath,
until he stands alone
        even here
                on this most fecund world.
With one more racing whirl
        he is gone back home
                once more in limbo,
where he piles the unburnable trinkets
        of those frail creatures
                that whither in his presence.
He covets these reminders
        of those who can stand
                the touch of their own,
        of those who keep full company.
For even these remains
        of those damned & blessed beings
fuel the anger
        he strives to keep,
for he must stay burning bright & hot
        to earn each quick release
                from his solitude.